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Justin McLeod: What to expect this college softball season

Here, we go! College softball is almost back in action and I have none other than one of the best college softball reporters in the game, Justin McLeod, here to share some of his predictions of the 2023 season, big match-ups we should be on the lookout for this year, HOW you can watch and track college softball all season long and some “behind the scenes” of some of your favorite college players and coaches!

I’m excited to introduce you to one of my friends in the game who knows just about EVERYTHING going on in the college game before we even do. He stays up late researching and traveling to the best college match-ups so he can be one of the first to report college softball upsets, milestones, moving stories and he’s been doing it for quite some time. 

You may know him (like I originally did) from his articles written by Justin’s World of Softball but now he’s a journalist for Extra Innings and gets to share his stories on their college...

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The incredible things my first travel ball team taught me.

The Fort Wayne Fire 🔥 was the first travel team I ever played on...Luckily we spent 5+ years together and I've never had more fun playing the game in my entire life.
 
When you start playing, it's SO important to be around people that encourage you, inspire you to be your best and you simply have a blast competing with.
LUCKILY OUR COACHES, PLAYERS AND PARENTS WERE ALL OF THAT AND MORE!
 
I'm not saying every team is going to be best friends, but I do think it's important to be around people to accept you for who you are --- for me that was awkward, skinny, fast and aggressive on the bases.
 
Sadly, I don't think many young teams now have little to no turnover like we did. The team was led by two dads (including mine) and our mission was simple: learn how to compete and have some flipping fun while doing it.
 
 
We built this team from the ground up. 📈 We started playing in local tournaments (I'm pretty sure we played in Warsaw,...
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Goals are meant to be hard and a bit scary

Have you ever set a goal, got sooo motivated to make it happen at the beginning and then realize after a few weeks you lost the motivation to put in the work??

Same.

I've done some digging to see what the difference is between the people who stay motivated towards their goals and not and the BIGGEST difference I found is that some become COMMITTED to the goal (and we'll get into that in a second) and some are just INTERESTED in it. Here are the biggest differences between the two:

The COMMITTED:

  • Have built habits and routines around the work that's required to get there.
  • Take action even when they're "not feeling it" that day --because of the bullet point above!
  • Don't take "no" for an answer. They see it more as a roadblock they have to find a way to navigate around.
  • Are optimistic. Even if they're not seeing the results they want right away, they stick to it because they know there's a light at the end of the tunnel. 
  • Are brave. They know the road will be...
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Gratitude and a few hitting tips

Listen now>>>

 

TODAY, I'M SHARING WITH YOU A FEW OF MY FAVORITE SUBJECTS TO TALK ABOUT!

I've had the pleasure of being coached by a leader in the entrepreneurial space that taught me a practice that has helped me get through some of my toughest days. I know this time around the holidays can be the reason for so much gratitude, but this practice (when it  becomes a habit) will be a great extension of gratitude that will go much further than just you...it will brighten the world around you!

Along with this practice, I've included a snippet of a LIVE Q&A I did on Instagram a few weeks ago talking about a few hitting tips that EVERY hitter experiences and a few drills to help work on fixing a few postural errors we could be making in our swing!

If you’re ready to hone in on the best version of you, and learn a few things you can work on in your off-season training, then this episode is for you! And now, let’s jump right into Episode 64 of...

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Why is Japan absolutely dominant in softball?

 

We've (Team USA Softball) has lost to Japan in the past two Olympic Gold Medal games and it's about time we talk about WHY!

None other than Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, Natasha Watley, is the PERFECT person to ask this question to as she has spent the last 13 years (after her 2008 Silver Medal) playing and now coaching in Japan inside their professional league.

The Japanese culture have mastered these two things:

DISCIPLINE - They practice 6+ hour practices every single day and they treat it as a full-time JOB which it is!

RESPECT - not only do they bow to the field before every practice and game they compete in, they give the most respect to the game by becoming as great as they can be at it. --and THAT is their biggest motivation

 

Now you may not know this, but teams in Japan are owned by LARGE corporations (like Honda and Toyota which we've all heard of) and their pro teams are a large line item in their budget because their mission is to be able to...

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How a DOG TOY can help you with your swing!

Have you ever looked at something, turned your head, and said: "What if I could use that thing to help me hit?!"

It's totally okay if you haven't...

I honestly think it's one of my crazy superpowers. Some of my students call me weird, and honestly, I'd agree with them.

I think my weirdness started when I went to a Notre Dame Softball camp at the age of 10 or 11 and at one of the hitting stations we used something called a "ChuckIt". We were told works on improving your barrel-whip.

In case you're curious and want to look it up, yep, it's a dog's toy. This is what my honest brain said when I picked it up: "How the heck is a DOG TOY supposed to improve my swing?!"

Guys, I was totally proven wrong...

You want your FASTEST part of your swing to (clearly) be at contact, and if you hold the "Chuckit" with one arm, take a swing and the ball "whips" out of the Chuckit at that point (contact) it will go up the middle. At first, I was extending my front arm (left arm and WEAKER arm!)...

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A special tribute to all the "softball moms" out there

 

I’m writing this in the middle of West Virginia road-trippin with my mom headed to watch my favorite Tarheel compete in her senior weekend in Chapel Hill and I thought…wouldn't it be fun if I asked you questions about the GLORY days of travel ball and if it was ALLLL worth it?! 

Here's a fun Q&A we had in the car where we relived the glory days and tips on what mom learned along the way of raising three D1 athletes: 

    • Words to describe travel ball life: crazy, fun and busy
    • What’s your favorite memory from all of it?: Trips we took together…Colorado was our favorite (we stayed in a house in the mountains with the team, went hiking and then seeing all the coaches and scouts at games was so cool) — went white water rafting. Parents made meals for everyone…Team did the dishes after dinner. THE BEST.

      “Those were our vacations” 

    • What do you miss most about travel ball days? -...

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10 Ways Softball Players Can Boost Their Confidence TODAY

COVID HIT US HARD! ...I'd be surprised if someone said they're not lacking a bit more confidence than normal!

Confidence comes from doing HARD things and doing whatever it takes to accomplish them, but being cooped up in the house under quarantine, addicted to social media, and having our phones and Netflix at our disposal 24/7 makes it pretty tough to do that.

Studies show --"Those who fail regularly, but keep getting up and trying again anyway, are better equipped to respond to challenges and setbacks in a constructive way." 

So...I decided to give you a list of 10 resources (and a bonus of course 'cause I just couldn't stop myself!) that I have either created or learned that softball athletes can use *at their disposal ;) * to help boost your confidence RIGHT NOW. Some of these require HARD WORK, but I promise the harder it is, the more you're going to be proud of yourself and feel like a million bucks!

Here they are (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!):

    ...
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How to help an athlete who's being hard on themselves

Uncategorized Feb 09, 2021

Let's keep it real. Our athletes are too hard on themselves.

I spent the entire week and a half working on this new concept to help my athletes gain confidence and the feedback has been THROUGH THE ROOF!

One athlete finally gained so much self-esteem, I'm pretty sure SHE could have instructed ME the entire rest of the virtual lesson and another smiled more than I have seen her in ages.

Here's a quick tutorial of how it happened. 

I asked each of them two things:

- What was their favorite color...and 

- What was their favorite animal. 

I received some blue elephants, pink giraffes and my personal favorite was a PURPLE NARWHAL! *like from the movie Elf!*

With this, the entire lesson they had to say their signature color and animal phrase EVERY time they feel like they crushed the ball... *the catch was, if I felt like they crushed it and they didn't, they owed me a burpee on the spot!* (the point of this is finding great...

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How to keep your athlete more inspired

Have you ever wondered WHY your athlete may struggle with motivation from time-to-time? People are asking me this question a lot and my first response is always: "Does she have any goals?" 

Oftentimes, the answer I get is "I don't really know."

How would you answer this question?

First off...I need to tell you there should be ABSOLUTELY no shame in not knowing the answer to this yet...most people don't!

And today, I'm going to share with you WHY it's important to know, and how you can start being a huge motivator in your athlete's life when you do!

Studies show, if someone has a goal and are constantly being reminded of where they're headed, they'll be more inspired to put the work into that goal, even on the days where it's hard and they don't want to. HECK when I wasn't inspired to practice on my own in high school, I remember my dad saying: "I thought you wanted to play D1 softball. If you did, you'd practice today."

Call it tough love...

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